December 8, 2021

Afghanistan crisis: LA Times photojournalist Marcus Yam decribes reporting from Kabul

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Marcus Yam, a photojournalist and international correspondent with the Los Angeles Times, is one in all solely a handful of U.S. journalists nonetheless in Kabul. He has been there for weeks now overlaying the Taliban takeover and refugee evacuations. His pictures of the battle and devastation have been shared around the globe.

ABC7 Information spoke to Yam on Sunday whereas he was on the Taliban-controlled aspect of the Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul. He was there ready for the U.S. troop withdrawal, which he stated could possibly be imminent.

“It’s just heartbreaking for everybody,” Yam stated of the scenario in Afghanistan. “There’s so many people here that can’t leave. I’ve met so many SIV applicants, I’ve met so many people, so many women activists who are supposed to be on those planes out.”

By Yam’s estimation, there are nonetheless hundreds of individuals caught in Afghanistan who’re eligible to get out.

“There are so many Afghan air force pilots that are still stuck here that can’t leave,” Yam stated. “U.S. trained Afghan air force pilots that are literally left to the whim of the Taliban.”

TAKE ACTION: The right way to assist Afghanistan, Afghan group

Yam blamed a lot of this on the dearth of course of and procedures on the airport, which he described as a “fiasco” and a “free for all.”

A few of Yam’s most placing pictures have been from the aftermath of the sucicide bombings final week in Kabul by ISIS-Ok. He photographed Afghans attending funerals for his or her family members who have been killed as they waited for entry into the airport.

“‘The mood is somber. It’s very solemn,” Yam stated. “Afghans are already mourning the loss of their country, the loss of their way of life, and the attacks have basically just rubbed salt into the wound…they’re now burying the dead.”

Yam stated, like everyone there, he’s exhausted after spending weeks in Kabul, however that he “can’t complain” given the trauma skilled by so many Afghan refugees.

He described what number of refugees have not slept for days standing exterior the airport — their eyes blood-shot — “a clear indication they haven’t slept in a while,” he stated.

Yam stated one lady approached him and advised him she may be very suicidal.

“It’s really a really hard reality here for a lot of the Afghans,” Yam stated.

Yam stated the Taliban have allowed him, and different international journalists, to stay in Afghanistan. He stated the new-Afghan leaders wish to current a brand new picture on the worldwide stage.

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Yam stated he hopes to stay in Kabul even after the August thirty first withdrawal of U.S. troops. His plan is to remain there by way of September eleventh.

“We’re committed to covering this story for as a long as we can,” Yam stated.

See extra tales and movies in regards to the fall of Afghanistan right here.